WRITING ON EDUCATION
Barbara studied English at Somerville College Oxford (1973-6). She completed a PGCE at the Institute of Education, London University, where she was awarded the Storey Prize for the highest grade in her year in any subject (a combination of her final examination mark and teaching practice). She taught full-time in London schools for 10 years, ending up at Islington Sixth Form Centre where she was initially Head of English, and then a member of SLT working cross-phase with the local FE college before the two institutions merged as City & Islington College. In the late 1980s she did a one-year secondment as an Advisory Teacher at the English Centre and then continued to work both there and at Islington Sixth Form Centre in part-time roles while bringing up her children. More recently, she became Co-Director of EMC, first alongside Michael Simons and latterly with the current Director Andrew McCallum. She stepped down at the end of 2015 but continues to work part-time for EMC, as well as pursuing her own fiction writing.
Both at EMC and previously for commercial publishers, she has written or co-written a number of award-winning resources, across a range of areas of English, including A Level, poetry, Shakespeare and language, as well as writing numerous articles, chapters for books and blogs. She is the editor of emagazine, EMC’s quarterly print subscription magazine for A Level students.
She has managed several research projects for external agencies including: a DfE funded Best Practice Research Scholarship Project (BPRS) on A Level, a Learning Skills Network (LSN) project on English and work-related learning, a Teacher Development Agency (TDA) project on underachieving writers, and an intergenerational speaking and listening project funded by Paul Hamlyn. Most recently she has led EMC’s project on Group Work It’s Good to Talk.
Over her 40 years in education she has been a consultant to a number of external agencies, including QCDA, was a member of the QCA English 21 planning group, worked with the Learning Skills Network, Teacher’s TV, and a number of Awarding Bodies. She acted as consultant to the Nuffield Science GCSE project. She has worked on several projects in close collaboration with colleagues in Higher Education. She was on the Poetry Book Society Board from 2007-1010 and is an RSA fellow. Along with Andrew McCallum, she represents the English and Media Centre on the Common English Forum.
In 2019 Barbara was awarded the NATE Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Teaching of English.